As part of the programme complementing our current exhibition, Georgian Illuminations, join us for a discussion of light in public entertainments in the Georgian era and today, with co-curator Dr Melanie Doderer-Winkler, conservator Geoffrey Major and installation artist Nayan Kulkarni.

Melanie Doderer-Winkler will outline celebrated light shows of the period and the impressive and the elaborate temporary architectural structures created for them, often designed by leading architects and artists including Soane. Conservator Geoffrey Major will describe the process of preparing the newly discovered vast linen transparencies, which were back lit in Georgian windows as patriotic decoration during the Napoleonic Wars, and which are displayed for the first time in the Foyle Space. Installation artist Nayan Kulkarni will discuss his commissioned light work that illuminates the Museum’s façade for the duration of the exhibition, a constantly changing display of abstract geometries inspired by Soane’s own use of light. The discussion will be moderated by Dr Louise Stewart, Head of Exhibitions and co-curator of the exhibition.

The illuminated facade of Sir John Soane's Museum, with a lighting scheme desgined by Nayan Kulkarni.

About the speakers

Dr Melanie Doderer-Winkler, co-curator of Georgian Illuminations, is an art historian and furniture specialist formerly at Christie’s, King's Street, London. She is the author of Magnificent Entertainments: Temporary Architecture for Georgian Festivals (Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre, 2013) and writes and lectures about the splendour and pageantry of eighteenth-century entertaining. As a longstanding member of the Furniture History Society, she has organised numerous study tours within Europe and Overseas. For nearly a decade, until earlier this year, she served as a trustee of The Georgian Group, Britain's premier architectural preservation charity.

Nayan Kulkarni  is a multimedia artist whose work engages with ideas of site specificity, time, technology and perception. These themes are manifested in work that is generated from specific concepts, processes or places through diverse media such as light, video, installation, sculpture and photography. Underpinning his practice is an ongoing theoretical and technological research base in digital media and computer controlled artificial light. Supporting this research is his interest in contemporary and historical science fiction, photographic theory and architectural theory.

Geoffrey Major is a fine art conservator with Zenzie Tinker Conservation who prepared the never previously exhibited linen transparencies for display in Georgian Illuminations. He trained as a paper conservator at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia and both the Bodleian Library and Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Geoffrey was Senior Paper Conservator and Head of Conservation at the National Gallery of Australis, Canberra, where he worked for more than 15 years. In 2000 he established a private conservation practice in Sydney specialising in modern and contemporary art. Geoffrey joined Zenzie Tinker Conservation in 2009, bringing a broad range of find and decorative arts conservation knowledge. Geoffrey specialises in mixed media objects, modern paintings and works of art on paper. He also designs and builds bespoke museum cabinets and exhibition display mounts.

Dr Louise Stewart is Head of Exhibitions at Sir John Soane’s Museum. A  curator and art historian with broad research interests in social history and visual culture, she has previously worked for various museums, galleries and arts organisations including the National Portrait Gallery, Nottingham Contemporary, The National Centre for Craft and Design and Ordinary Culture.  She completed her PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2015 and her doctoral research focused on court and country house entertainments in early modern England.Stewart has published widely on topics including popular portraiture, royal iconography, Tudor banqueting and contemporary art.

A visitor sits to observe the illuminated transparencies of Wellington and Peace, displayed in the Museum's Foyle Space.

About the event

You will have the opportunity to visit the exhibition both before and after the talk.

Monday 4 December, 2023
Doors open at 6.30pm
Talk 7–8pm
Exhibition viewing 8–8.30pm

We are in a Grade I listed, 19th-century building, so access is not always straightforward. If you require step-free access or extra assistance, please contact us in advance of your booking on or 020 7405 2107.

Your confirmation email serves as your ticket.

Tickets are refundable up to 7 days before the event, after which point they are non-refundable or exchangeable.